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The 1984 Detroit Grand Prix, otherwise officially known as the 3rd Detroit Grand Prix, was the eighth race of 1984 FIA Formula One World Championship, staged at the Detroit Street Circuit on the 24 June 1984.[1] The race would be one of attrition, resulting in Nelson Piquet claiming a surprisingly slim victory over Martin Brundle, until the Brit was retroactively disqualified.[1]

Qualifying had seen Piquet claim his fourth pole of the season ahead of Championship leader Alain Prost, while Nigel Mansell had claimed third for Lotus-Renault.[1] Brundle, meanwhile, was a season best of eleventh in the Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth, which performed well on the narrow, bumpy and deceptively difficult Detroit circuit.[1]

However, the start of the race would set the tone for the rest of the afternoon, with the first accident of the afternoon causing a red flag before the majority of the field made it through the first corner.[1] Indeed, a lunge from Mansell to try and pass both Prost and Piquet into the first corner would go wrong, with the Brit only managing to punt the Brazilian into the barriers.[1]

Piquet's Brabham-BMW duly spun back across the circuit, where it was collected by both Ayrton Senna and Marc Surer, blocking the circuit.[1] The resulting clean up would see both Brazilians manage to make it back onto the grid with their spare cars, while Surer was out completely for there was no spare Arrows.[1]

The restart went much smoother, with Piquet blasting away off the line to prevent Prost and Mansell harassing him into turn one.[1] Indeed, the Frenchman and the Brit were left to squabble with Michele Alboreto and the rest of the field, while Piquet eased away out front.[1]

Indeed, all of the action would be behind the Brazilian, with a run of accidents and mechanical failures thinning the field throughout the first half of the race.[1] Indeed, the retirements were coming so frequently that both Brundle and teammate Stefan Bellof would run in the points, before the latter's race was ended with a visit to the barriers.[1]

Even Prost was not immune to the run of misfortune, with the Frenchman spinning into the barriers and needing a second stop.[1] That, combined with late retirements for Derek Warwick and Michele Alboreto put Brundle onto the podium, before a late issue for Elio de Angelis saw the Brit move into second.[1]

Furthermore, with Piquet struggling with immense pain in his right foot, Brundle was able to steadily close on the Brazilian for the lead, although ultimately ran out of time to challenge for a maiden victory.[1] Indeed, Brundle was only eight tenths of a second behind Piquet as the chequered flag fluttered, with de Angelis, Teo Fabi, Prost and Jacques Laffite the only other finishers.[1]

After the race, however, Brundle's Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth would be held after post-race scrutineering, with the officials finding lead balls in the ballast tanks.[2] A subsequent investigation, as well as analysis of the fluid in the ballast tank, concluded that the Tyrrell 012 was being illegally ballasted during the race, as well as technically refuelled.[2]

A meeting of the FISA Executive Committee on 18 July duly excluded the entire Tyrrell team and drivers from the 1984 World Championship, with Brundle and Bellof also retroactively disqualified from every race.[2]

BackgroundEdit

Formula One returned to Detroit and the punishing Detroit Street Circuit for the eighth round of the 1984 campaign, less than a week after being battered by the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Canada.[2] The little Street Circuit was not popular with the drivers, with the bumps even bigger than in 1983, with the surface being punished by an unusually brutal winter for Detroit.[2] Indeed, with Detroit proving unpopular as a host, with Nigel Mansell being robbed in his hotel, Bernie Ecclestone was looking elsewhere for 1985, with Miami and San Diego set to bid for their place on the calendar.[2]

Canadian CostsEdit

The most significant outcome of the Canadian Grand Prix a few days earlier had been to re-affirm that Brabham-BMW and Nelson Piquet were a force to be reckoned with.[2] However, the Brazilian's imperious victory had come at a significant personal cost, with Piquet sustaining significant burns to his feet as a result of the BT53s nose-mounted radiator.[3] An investigation into solving that particular issue was launched immediately by Gordon Murray and his design team, although for Detroit both Piquet and a returning Teo Fabi would drive with the option of having an ice tray installed in their pedal-box.[3]

Elsewhere, the media were under attack by Ferrari, whom had opted to ban all journalists from their pit garages after Michele Alboreto's altercation with a press-member in Montreal.[2] Inevitably, the media took their ban as a sign that something else was afoot in the Scuderia, resulting in a range of rumours from the team re-hiring Niki Lauda, to a switch to an L4 engine for 1985.[2] Regardless, both Alboreto and René Arnoux would race in Detroit, with both knowing that they were driving in defence of their seats in the team.[2]

Ford, meanwhile, were putting pressure on FISA to declare their engine rules for 1985, with the American firm acknowledging that they were partnering with Cosworth to produce a turbo engine for F1.[2] Indeed, the Detroit based giants were looking at developing either a 4 or 6 cylinder engine, depending on how much fuel would be allowed per-race, while also securing funding to enter their own "factory" team in partnership with German racers Zakspeed.[2] For 1984, however, the Ford Cosworth alliance was set to be among the also-rans, with Tyrrell duo Martin Brundle and Stefan Bellof, as well as the Arrows A6 pilot Marc Surer, all set for difficult weekends.[2]

Another big American name was also set to make an appearance in Detroit, with Renault securing a deal with 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti to run as their reserve.[2] Indeed, the 44 year old ace was keen to make an appearance on home-soil, although when Patrick Tambay passed all of the mandatory pre-race fitness tests, Andretti's return was all but cancelled.[2] Regardless, he would attend the race alongside Tambay and Derek Warwick, with the latter rumoured to be on his way out of the French squad already due to his inability to speak French.[2]

Germanic GesticulationEdit

Elsewhere the recent run of strikes in Germany's manufacturing sector was beginning to bite the F1 paddock, with engine builders Hart in particular bother.[2] Indeed, Brian Hart was struggling to supply both RAM and Toleman ahead of the trip across the Atlantic, and after another punishing weekend in Canada both squads were running low on spares.[2] As such, Hart were working flat-out back in the UK to secure other sources of steel to build more components, while the RAM and Toleman teams only had a couple of engines in reserve.[2]

In spite of that news, Toleman had a lot of reason to be optimistic ahead of the race in Detroit, with rookie lead driver Ayrton Senna enjoying another strong weekend in Canada.[2] Indeed, the Brazilian and teammate Johnny Cecotto had been close to the points throughout the race, with a new TG184 arriving in the paddock for Senna.[2] RAM, meanwhile, welcomed Jonathan Palmer back to the team after his weekend away at Le Mans, re-uniting with Philippe Alliot, while Spirit were forced to revert to their older Cosworth engined 101 amid the lack of Hart engines.[2] They would run Huub Rothengatter for the second successive race, with Mauro Baldi staying with sports cars.[2]

Minor ModificationsEdit

Williams-Honda would arrive in Detroit with some minor modifications to their suspension, with both Jacques Laffite and Keke Rosberg still complaining of the FW09's awful understeer.[2] Lotus-Renault, meanwhile, had no changes to report, although both Mansell and Elio de Angelis were unsettled after the former's hotel incident.[2] Likewise, McLaren-TAG arrived with no news to report, with Lauda and Championship leading teammate Alain Prost again among the favourites.[2]

Ligier-Renault were also unchanged for the race in Detroit, with François Hesnault and Andrea de Cesaris again at the wheel.[2] Alfa Romeo, meanwhile, were desperately hoping for a good result in Detroit, with the future of the entire team, as well as drivers Eddie Cheever and Riccardo Patrese, reliant on results before the end of September.[2] Completing the field would be the Alfa engined Osella for Piercarlo Ghinzani, as well as the BMW engined entries of ATS for Manfred Winkelhock, and the #18 Arrows A7 of Thierry Boutsen.[2]

Champion ContextEdit

In terms of the Championship victory for Piquet in Canada had seen the Brazilian streak into the top ten, having been an unclassified twentieth following his miserable run of poor reliability. At the head of the field, meanwhile, it was Prost who led the charge landing in Detroit, although teammate Lauda had crept closer in Montreal. The gap between the two McLaren-TAG pilots stood at 8.5 points leaving Quebec's capital, with Arnoux an increasingly distant third.

With their two drivers leading the charge in the Drivers Championship there was little surprise that McLaren-TAG headed the Constructors battle, landing in Detroit with a huge 30 point advantage over the rest of the field. Ferrari were still their closest challengers, although they were looking over their shoulders rather than plotting the downfall of McLaren upon arrival in the US. Indeed, the factory Renault squad, as well as engine customers Team Lotus-Renault had moved onto 21 points for the season in Montreal, a tally that left both within striking distance of the Scuderia in Detroit.

Entry listEdit

The full entry list for the 1984 Detroit Grand Prix is outlined below:

No. Driver Entrant Constructor Chassis Engine Model Tyre
1 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom MRD International Brabham BT53 BMW M12/13 1.5 L4t M
2 Italy Teo Fabi United Kingdom MRD International Brabham BT53 BMW M12/13 1.5 L4t M
3 United Kingdom Martin Brundle United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Organisation Tyrrell 012 Ford Cosworth DFY 3.0 V8 G
4 Germany Stefan Bellof United Kingdom Tyrrell Racing Organisation Tyrrell 012 Ford Cosworth DFY 3.0 V8 G
5 France Jacques Laffite United Kingdom Williams Grand Prix Engineering Williams FW09 Honda RA164E 1.5 V6t G
6 Finland Keke Rosberg United Kingdom Williams Grand Prix Engineering Williams FW09 Honda RA164E 1.5 V6t G
7 France Alain Prost United Kingdom Marlboro McLaren International McLaren MP4/2 TAG TTE PO1 1.5 V6t M
8 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom Marlboro McLaren International McLaren MP4/2 TAG TTE PO1 1.5 V6t M
9 France Philippe Alliot United Kingdom Skoal Bandit Formula 1 Team RAM 02 Hart 415T 1.5 L4t P
10 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer United Kingdom Skoal Bandit Formula 1 Team RAM 02 Hart 415T 1.5 L4t P
11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 95T Renault EF4B 1.5 V6t G
12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom John Player Team Lotus Lotus 95T Renault EF4B 1.5 V6t G
14 Germany Manfred Winkelhock Germany Team ATS ATS D7 BMW M12/13 1.5 L4t P
15* France Patrick Tambay
United States Mario Andretti
France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE50 Renault EF4 1.5 V6t G
16 United Kingdom Derek Warwick France Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE50 Renault EF4 1.5 V6t G
17 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Barclay Nordica Arrows BMW Arrows A7 BMW M12/13 1.5 L4t G
18 Belgium Thierry Boutsen United Kingdom Barclay Nordica Arrows BMW Arrows A6 Ford Cosworth DFY 3.0 V8 G
19 Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom Toleman Group Motorsport Toleman TG184 Hart 415T 1.5 L4t M
20 Venezuela Johnny Cecotto United Kingdom Toleman Group Motorsport Toleman TG184 Hart 415T 1.5 L4t M
21 Netherlands Huub Rothengatter United Kingdom Spirit Racing Spirit 101 Ford Cosworth DFY 3.0 V8 P
22 Italy Riccardo Patrese Italy Benetton Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 184T Alfa Romeo 890T 1.5 V8t G
23 United States Eddie Cheever Italy Benetton Team Alfa Romeo Alfa Romeo 184T Alfa Romeo 890T 1.5 V8t G
24 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Italy Osella Squadra Corse Osella FA1F Alfa Romeo 890T 1.5 V8t P
25 France François Hesnault France Ligier Loto Ligier JS23 Renault EF4 1.5 V6t M
26 Italy Andrea de Cesaris France Ligier Loto Ligier JS23 Renault EF4 1.5 V6t M
27 Italy Michele Alboreto Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 126C4 Ferrari 031 1.5 V6t G
28 France René Arnoux Italy Scuderia Ferrari SpA SEFAC Ferrari 126C4 Ferrari 031 1.5 V6t G
Source:[4]
  • * Andretti was also listed in the #15 Renault as the team's reserve driver.[4]

Practice OverviewEdit

QualifyingEdit

Qualifying for the Detroit Grand Prix of 1984 followed the conventional format, with four sessions across Friday and Saturday prior to the race.[3] Of these, the morning sessions on each day would be given over to race practice, leaving the afternoon periods free for drivers to battle for pole.[3] In terms of a target time the aces in the field would hope to best the circuit record, a 1:44.734 set by René Arnoux in 1983.[3]

Friday QualifyingEdit

Friday's running would be punctuated by a series of accidents and mishaps, with the narrow, bumpy Detroit Street Circuit ensuring that drivers were never too far away from a session ending visit to the barriers.[3] Indeed, Derek Warwick would be one of the more notable victims, with the Brit's Renault pitching itself into the barriers early on.[3] Furthermore, while the accident itself had been at a fairly low speed, a failure in the monocoque allowed a piece of the suspension to pierce the cockpit, coming within millimetres of Warwick's feet.[3]

Elsewhere, Nigel Mansell put his hotel high-jinks behind him to set the fastest time of the session, although his 1:45.130 suggested that there was a lot of time left to find on the circuit.[3] His closest challenger proved to be Niki Lauda at the end of the day, although the Austrian would be excluded from the results after the session when his rear-wing was found to be 1mm too big.[2] Nelson Piquet therefore finished the afternoon second fastest to the Lotus-Renault, the Brabham-BMWs having an unusually quiet start to the weekend in terms of engine issues, while Alain Prost claimed third for McLaren-TAG.[2]

Further down the field there would be numerous cars carrying battle scars at the end of the afternoon, with both Tolemans receiving heavy damage.[2] Likewise, Stefan Bellof would smash his Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth into the barriers towards the end of the session, while Andrea de Cesaris spent the session bouncing from barrier to barrier in his Ligier.[2] Another driver in particular strife was Thierry Boutsen, a multitude of issues preventing the Arrows-BMW from setting a clean lap, while the two Williams-Hondas were well off the pace.[2]

Saturday QualifyingEdit

Overnight on Friday the Professional Racing Drivers Association held a meeting to discuss the huge number of accidents on Friday, with all drivers bar Keke Rosberg attending.[2] The resulting discussions led PRDA President Lauda to lead a seemingly united call for a reduction in engine power, as well as a provision to move the front suspension ahead of the front axle.[2] The latter demand was to improve the safety of the cockpit, with the accidents of Warwick on Friday, and Patrick Tambay back at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix, having seen major suspension components penetrate the footwells of their cockpits.[2]

However, those demands were for the mid to long-term future, meaning all 27 drivers could focus on securing their starting position after their cars were rebuilt on Friday night.[2] Ultimately, however, there would be no real fight for pole, for Piquet would dominate the day, setting new circuit records every time he hit the circuit in his spare/"quali" car.[3] Indeed, the Brazilian's eventual pole lap was nothing short of mesmerising, with Piquet dancing his car around Detroit to a 1:40.980, in spite of the fact that he lost a cylinder with two corners to go.[3]

Arnoux 1984 Detroit Grand Prix

René Arnoux's low-key weekend would start with a fairly anonymous qualifying performance.

Best of the rest, over two-thirds of a second off Piquet's pace, would be Prost in the #7 McLaren-TAG having switched to the spare car after an engine issue.[3] Mansell was next after getting an extra set of "quali" Goodyear tyres, while Michele Alboreto claimed fourth in his Ferrari.[2] Elio de Angelis put the second Lotus-Renault into fifth ahead of Warwick, while the returning Tambay found himself in ninth, leaving Mario Andretti without a drive.[2]

At the back of the field, meanwhile, the lone non-qualifier proved to be Huub Rothengatter in the Spirit-Ford Cosworth, the Dutchman having been almost nine seconds off the ultimate pace.[2] Teo Fabi, meanwhile, was a very poor 23rd on his F1 return for Brabham-BMW, having had to wait until the final minutes of the session to use Piquet's spare car after he crashed his.[2] He was, however, within touching distance of both Williams-Hondas, with Rosberg and Jacques Laffite both looking miserable, while Martin Brundle was a stunning eleventh in his Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth.[2]

Qualifying ResultsEdit

The full qualifying results for the 1984 Detroit Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Time Gap
Q1 Q2
1 1 Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-BMW 1:45.407T 1:40.980T
2 7 France Alain Prost United Kingdom McLaren-TAG 1:45.717 1:41.640T +0.660s
3 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Lotus-Renault 1:45.130 1:42.172 +1.192s
4 27 Italy Michele Alboreto Italy Ferrari 1:47.719 1:42.246 +1.266s
5 11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Renault 1:47.316T 1:42.434 +1.454s
6 16 United Kingdom Derek Warwick France Renault 1:47.341 1:42.637T +1.657s
7 19 Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 1:47.188 1:42.651 +1.671s
8 23 United States Eddie Cheever Italy Alfa Romeo 1:47.347 1:43.065 +2.085s
9 15 France Patrick Tambay France Renault 1:46.426 1:43.289 +2.309s
10* 8 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom McLaren-TAG 1:43.484 +2.480s
11 3 United Kingdom Martin Brundle United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:48.966 1:43.754 +2.774s
12 26 Italy Andrea de Cesaris France Ligier-Renault 1:46.834 1:43.998 +3.018s
13 18 Belgium Thierry Boutsen United Kingdom Arrows-BMW 1:47.866 1:44.063 +3.083s
14 14 West Germany Manfred Winkelhock West Germany ATS-BMW 1:47.303 1:44.228 +3.248s
15 28 France René Arnoux Italy Ferrari 1:46.805 1:44.748 +3.768s
16 4 West Germany Stefan Bellof United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 1:48.177 1:44.940 +3.960s
17 20 Venezuela Johnny Cecotto United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 1:49.644 1:45.231 +4.251s
18 25 France François Hesnault France Ligier-Renault 1:49.697 1:45.419 +4.439s
19 5 France Jacques Laffite United Kingdom Williams-Honda 1:47.610 1:46.225 +5.245s
20 9 France Philippe Alliot United Kingdom RAM-Hart 1:51.031 1:46.333 +5.353s
21 6 Finland Keke Rosberg United Kingdom Williams-Honda 1:47.919 1:46.495 +5.515s
22 17 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 6:22.502 1:46.626 +5.646s
23 2 Italy Teo Fabi United Kingdom Brabham-BMW 1:51.165 1:47.335 +6.355s
24 10 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer United Kingdom RAM-Hart 1:51.493 1:47.743 +6.673s
25 22 Italy Riccardo Patrese Italy Alfa Romeo 1:47.974 1:48.230 +6.994s
26 24 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Italy Osella-Alfa Romeo 1:49.141 1:48.865 +7.885s
DNQ 21 Netherlands Huub Rothengatter United Kingdom Spirit-Ford Cosworth 1:53.625 1:49.995 +8.975s
WD 15 United States Mario Andretti France Renault
Source:[3][5]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car to set their best time in that session.
  • Bold indicates a driver's best/qualifying time.
  • * Lauda had his times from the Friday qualifying session deleted for using an illegal rear wing.[3]

GridEdit

Pos Pos
Driver Driver
______________
Row 1 1 ______________
Nelson Piquet 2
______________ Alain Prost
Row 2 3 ______________
Nigel Mansell 4
______________ Michele Alboreto
Row 3 5 ______________
Elio de Angelis 6
______________ Derek Warwick
Row 4 7 ______________
Ayrton Senna 8
______________ Eddie Cheever
Row 5 9 ______________
Patrick Tambay 10
______________ Niki Lauda
Row 6 11 ______________
Martin Brundle 12
______________ Andrea de Cesaris
Row 7 13 ______________
Thierry Boutsen 14
______________ Manfred Winkelhock
Row 8 15 ______________
René Arnoux 16
______________ Stefan Bellof
Row 9 17 ______________
Johnny Cecotto 18
______________ François Hesnault
Row 10 19 ______________
Jacques Laffite 20
______________ Phillippe Alliot
Row 11 21 ______________
Keke Rosberg 22
______________ Marc Surer
Row 12 23 ______________
Teo Fabi 24
______________ Jonathan Palmer
Row 13 25 ______________
Riccardo Patrese 26
______________ Piercarlo Ghinzani

RaceEdit

Heavy rain on Saturday night ensured that the Detroit Street Circuit was bereft of grip on race morning, with the warm-up seeing an alarming amount of tyre wear across the field.[2] That resulted in a variety of different tyre choices in the field, with Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost choosing soft Michelin tyres, while the two Lotus-Renaults chose the hardest.[2] It was a different story among the Goodyear faction, with everyone bar Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth taking their hardest rubber.[2]

ReportEdit

The mix of rubber resulted in a chaotic start at the head of the field, with Nigel Mansell making a surprisingly strong start in spite of his harder tyres.[2] The Brit managed to get in between front row starters Piquet and Prost heading towards the first corner, although when they hit the brakes three abreast for the first corner it proved to be a poor place to be.[2] Indeed, as Mansell hit his brake pedal his Lotus snapped sideways and smacked into Piquet, with the Brabham-BMW getting pitched into a spin as a result.[2]

Piquet Surer 1984 Detroit Grand Prix

Nelson Piquet's Brabham-BMW was shattered by Marc Surer's Arrows.

Piquet's spinning Brabham duly collected Michele Alboreto, with the Brazilian and Italian left blocking the circuit.[2] Miraculously the majority of the field squeezed past without issue, until Marc Surer smashed into Piquet, sending a wheel shooting off the Brabham.[2] That wheel would smack into Ayrton Senna's Toleman, just missing the Brazilian, while Phillippe Alliot and Jacques Laffite crunched into one-another as Senna jinked after getting hit by the errant wheel.[2]

Unsurprisingly the race was halted by a red flag, although only after Alboreto tried to drive away from the scene before spinning and dumping the remains of his sidepod across the circuit.[2] He duly joined Piquet and Senna on the walk back to the pits, with the trio all able to jump into their spare cars after a medical check-up, while Mansell took over teammate Elio de Angelis' car.[2] de Angelis was hence shuffled into the spare Lotus, while Surer was left on the sidelines with Arrows lacking a spare.[2]

RestartEdit

The grid was reset back to how the field had qualified, meaning Piquet would take the restart from pole in the car he had actually qualified.[2] Furthermore, it seemed as if Piquet was so keen to avoid a repeat of the accident at the original start that he appeared to jump the start, although no investigation was forthcoming.[2] Regardless, the Brazilian was clearly in the lead heading into the first corner, while a weary Prost prevented Mansell from lunging inside of his McLaren-TAG.[2]

The rest of the opening tour proved equally tame, with Piquet building a small lead over Prost and Mansell, while Alboreto fended off a fast starting Eddie Cheever.[2] Indeed, the only incident of note was Andrea de Cesaris' rather predictable brush with the wall midway around, with the Italian's Ligier requiring some suspension repairs when he arrived back in the pits.[2] He would at least complete the opening tour, unlike Manfred Winkelhock whose BMW engined ATS ground to a stop with smoke pouring from the exhausts.[2]

The status-quo was retained at the head of the field during the early stages, with Piquet easing clear while Cheever slipped down the order.[2] That allowed attention to focus elsewhere, with Jonathan Palmer duly taking centre-stage when he slapped the wall on lap three and punctured his tyre.[2] Moments later and René Arnoux would go spinning into the barriers, ripping the side off his Ferrari, before another three car accident further thinned the field.[2]

The combatants were Piercarlo Ghinzani, Teo Fabi and François Hesnault, who, while fighting at the back of the field, arrived at the first corner three abreast at the start of the the fourth lap.[2] Inevitably the three came together as they his the brakes, with Ghinzani's Osella and Hesnault's repaired Ligier duly spinning down the escape road.[2] Miraculously they both managed to escape without touching the wall and yet were out of the running: Ghinzani with broken steering while Hesnault stalled.[2]

With ten laps gone it was clear that Prost was struggling with his soft tyres, for Piquet was able to pull-out over half a second a lap on the McLaren without looking flustered.[2] That left the Frenchman vulnerable to the hard shod Mansell, who duly grabbed second with an expertly timed lunge though the Congress section.[2] The Brit duly eased away from Prost without threat from behind, while Mansell's teammate de Angelis pulled an identical move on Prost's teammate Niki Lauda for seventh.[2]

Mansell duly began to catch the cruising Piquet over the following laps, while Prost fell to a recovering Cheever after the American claimed fifth from Alboreto.[2] Warwick, meanwhile, had to abandon fourth to change his soft Michelin tyres, and would subsequently rejoin behind both Tyrrells outside of the top ten.[2] Elsewhere, de Angelis was harassing Alboreto for fifth, Lauda was dropping away from the Prost train, while Keke Rosberg found himself stuck behind an unusually quiet Senna.[2]

Ultimately, however, there would be no great fight for the lead once Mansell caught Piquet, for no sooner had he caught the Brabham, his Lotus lost second gear.[2] The loss of such a crucial gear ensured that Mansell's pace collapsed in comparison to Piquet, who subsequently eased away from Mansell as he tried to find a way past the issue.[2] Fortunately for the Brit he had almost twenty seconds of clear air behind him, with Prost's pace continuing to deteriorate as his tyre wear worsened.[2]

Indeed, quick fire moves from Cheever, Alboreto and de Angelis would prompt The Frenchman to abandon his tyres on lap eighteen, rejoining just ahead of a traffic hobbled Warwick.[2] The Brit himself had been lucky not to be involved in an accident a few moments earlier, for teammate Patrick Tambay had spun into the barriers right in front of him around the back of the circuit.[2] Fortunately the limping Frenchman escaped without any further injury, with his attempts to drag his damaged Renault curtailed when his engine stalled.[2]

The race settled down after that point, although Cheever, Alboreto and de Angelis continued to fight for third as they steadily caught Mansell.[2] Behind them, however, the field would continue to thin, with de Cesaris ruining another set of tyres by bouncing off the wall, again, while Senna briefly got himself tangled in the tyre barriers at turn one.[2] He duly rejoined with damage to the nose of his Toleman, just in time to see Cheever's race come to an end with a melted heat exchanger.[2]

Mansell's race would come to an end just before half-distance, a complete gearbox failure ultimately leaving him without any drive.[2] he was immediately joined in the pits by de Cesaris, whose third brush with the wall resulted in a damaged radiator, while Thierry Boutsen came to a stop with a split exhaust.[2] All of that left Piquet leading from Alboreto and de Angelis, while Rosberg, Martin Brundle and Stefan Bellof were promoted into the points.[2]

Indeed, the little Tyrrells were rather enjoying their time in Detroit, with both Brundle and Bellof harassing Rosberg before their respective stops for fresh tyres and ballast.[2] They rejoined in eighth and ninth behind Warwick and Prost, although Bellof's race was to be curtailed just a handful of laps later.[2] A slap against the wall by the German ultimately broke the #4 Tyrrell's suspension, leaving a dejected Bellof to limp back to the pits and retire.[2]

Brundle, meanwhile, was on a charge, and duly caught and passed Prost who was left bewildered by the fact that he had been passed by an under-powered Tyrrell.[2] Up ahead, Warwick would set a series of fastest laps as he caught and passed Rosberg and de Angelis, although a gearbox issue on lap 37 saw his pace deteriorate.[2] Brundle was subsequently gifted fifth when Warwick lost all of the gears in his gearbox, leaving Brundle clear to catch Rosberg.[2]

Laffite 1984 Detroit Grand Prix

Jacques Laffite was one of the few to survive the full 63 lap race.

The flying Tyrrell took four laps to catch the Finn, and duly barged past before Rosberg could really mount a defence.[2] The Brit instantly broke clear and began to eat into de Angelis' 12 second advantage ahead, before inheriting third when Alboreto's Ferrari engine exploded in second.[2] The Italian's retirement left Piquet in complete command at the head of the field, a fortunate development for Piquet as his burnt foot was getting more painful with every corner.[2]

Into the closing stages and Brundle was catching both de Angelis and Piquet by over three seconds a lap, while Rosberg's race came to an end with an oil fire.[2] With seven laps to go Brundle sent a lunge at de Angelis into the final chicane, and duly emerged in second having gone around the outside of the Lotus through the final element of the left-right-left flick.[2] With that the Brit was clear to chase after Piquet, although the Brazilian's lead was still a seemingly healthy twenty seconds.[2]

It proved to be a mesmerising final few laps in Detroit, with Brundle taking more and more time out of Piquet each lap.[2] Indeed, on the penultimate tour the British rookie would take more than six seconds out of the Brazilian's lead, with just four seconds separating them at the start of the final lap.[2] Ultimately, however, it was not to be for young Brundle, with Piquet just hanging on on the final tour to claim the win by half a second.[2]

Post-raceEdit

For the second race in succession Piquet would have to be helped out of his cockpit, although it was smiles all round on the podium for himself, Brundle and a battered de Angelis.[2] However, there were murmurs of a protest from Tyrrell, who were of the opinion that Piquet had effectively lost a lap as a result of his accident at the original start.[2] Ultimately, however, there would be no denying Piquet victory, with the officials re-affirming that the restart had been conducted as the official start of the race.[2]

Furthermore, Tyrrell's weekend, and entire season, was to be ruined a few hours later, when it was revealed that Brundle's car had failed post-race scrutineering.[2] The post-race examination by FISA delegate Gabriele Cadringher, conducted right in front of Tyrrell boss Ken Tyrrell, found a suspicious brown liquid in the Tyrrell's ballast tanks, as well as a significant amount of lead shot.[2] Samples of the liquid were duly shipped for testing in France and Texas, with Brundle provisionally disqualified pending the results of the tests.[2]

A Damning DisqualificationEdit

Those FIA tests ultimately revealed that the liquid contained a substantial (27.5%) amount of aromatics, and hence constituted an attempt to refuel the car.[6] With re-fuelling banned at the end of 1983, and lines found running from the tank to the water-injection system without safety valves, FISA opted to disqualify Brundle with immediate effect.[6] Further charges were added that prompted FISA to exclude Tyrrell from the entire 1984 Championship, with the lead shot found in the tank declared as not being securely fitted (ie requiring tools to remove).[6]

Tyrrell was subsequently made to attend a hearing on 18 July 1984 to hear their verdict, and would duly launch an ultimately fruitless bid to get the ban.[6] Indeed, the appeal hearing in August 1984 ultimately saw Tyrrell's ban upheld, in spite of the fact that Tyrrell successfully countered three of the four charges, and hence saw the British squad banned for the final three races.[6] FISA subsequently fined Tyrrell for failing to attend all of the season's races, while their lack of points for 1984 ensured that Tyrrell lost their travel subsidies for 1985, further crippling their finances.[6]

Indeed, come the end of the season there was a huge question as to whether Tyrrell would ever recover from their Detroit debacle.[6]

ResultsEdit

The full results for the 1984 Detroit Grand Prix are outlined below:

Pos. No. Driver Constructor Laps Time/Retired Grid Points
1 1T Brazil Nelson Piquet United Kingdom Brabham-BMW 63 1:55:41.842 1 9
2 11 Italy Elio de Angelis United Kingdom Lotus-Renault 63 + 32.638s 5 6
3 2 Italy Teo Fabi United Kingdom Brabham-BMW 63 + 1:26.528 23 4
4 7 France Alain Prost United Kingdom McLaren-TAG 63 + 1:55.258 2 3
5 5 France Jacques Laffite United Kingdom Williams-Honda 62 + 1 Lap 19 2
DSQ* 3 United Kingdom Martin Brundle United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 63 Disqualified 11
Ret 27 Italy Michele Alboreto Italy Ferrari 49 Engine 4
Ret 6 Finland Keke Rosberg United Kingdom Williams-Honda 47 Turbo 21
Ret 16 United Kingdom Derek Warwick France Renault 40 Gearbox 6
DSQ* 4 West Germany Stefan Bellof United Kingdom Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth 33 Accident 16
Ret 15 France Patrick Tambay France Renault 33 Transmission 9
Ret 9 France Philippe Alliot United Kingdom RAM-Hart 33 Brakes 20
Ret 8 Austria Niki Lauda United Kingdom McLaren-TAG 33 Electrical 10
Ret 12 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell United Kingdom Lotus-Renault 27 Gearbox 3
Ret 18 Belgium Thierry Boutsen United Kingdom Arrows-BMW 27 Engine 13
Ret 26 Italy Andrea de Cesaris France Ligier-Renault 24 Overheating 12
Ret 20 Venezuela Johnny Cecotto United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 23 Clutch 17
Ret 23 United States Eddie Cheever Italy Alfa Romeo 21 Engine 8
Ret 19T Brazil Ayrton Senna United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 21 Accident 7
Ret 22 Italy Riccardo Patrese Italy Alfa Romeo 20 Spun Off 25
Ret 25 France François Hesnault France Ligier-Renault 3 Accident 18
Ret 24 Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Italy Osella-Alfa Romeo 3 Accident 26
Ret 28 France René Arnoux Italy Ferrari 2 Accident 15
Ret 10 United Kingdom Jonathan Palmer United Kingdom RAM-Hart 2 Tyre 24
Ret 14 West Germany Manfred Winkelhock West Germany ATS-BMW 0 Engine 14
Ret 17 Switzerland Marc Surer United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 0 Accident 22
DNQ 21 Netherlands Huub Rothengatter United Kingdom Spirit-Ford Cosworth
Source:[7]
  • T Indicates a driver used their test/spare car.
  • * Brundle and Bellof were both disqualified from the results of the race after fuel and illegal ballast were found in their Tyrrell 012s.[2]

MilestonesEdit

StandingsEdit

Victory for a second successive race saw Nelson Piquet leap into the top five in the Championship, settling in ahead of René Arnoux. Yet, the Brazilian was still someway off the Championship leader, with Alain Prost managing to again eek out his lead at the head of the pack. Indeed, the Frenchman headed to Dallas with a healthy 11.5 point lead over teammate Niki Lauda, with the Austrian under threat for second from both Piquet and third placed Elio de Angelis.

In the Constructors Championship it was, as ever, advantage McLaren-TAG, in spite of the fact that they had been outscored fairly comprehensively in Detroit. Surprisingly, Lotus-Renault ended the weekend as their closest challengers, having moved half a point ahead of Ferrari courtesy of de Angelis. Brabham-BMW, meanwhile, would climb to fourth after their first double podium of the year, while Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth had been catapulted to the back of the field after their retroactive disqualification from the Championship.

World Championship for Drivers
Pos. Driver Pts. +/-
1 France Alain Prost 35.5
2 Austria Niki Lauda 24
3 Italy Elio de Angelis 22 ▲1
4 Brazil Nelson Piquet 18 ▲4
5 France René Arnoux 17 ▼2
6 United Kingdom Derek Warwick 13 ▼1
7 Finland Keke Rosberg 11.5 ▼1
8 Italy Michele Alboreto 9.5 ▼1
9 France Patrick Tambay 8
10 Brazil Ayrton Senna 5
11 United Kingdom Nigel Mansell 5
12 Italy Teo Fabi 4 ▲10
13 United States Eddie Cheever 3 ▼1
14 Italy Riccardo Patrese 3 ▼1
15 Belgium Thierry Boutsen 3 ▼1
16 Italy Andrea de Cesaris 3 ▼1
17 France Jacques Laffite 2 ▲1
World Championship for Manufacturers
Pos. Team Pts. +/-
1 United Kingdom McLaren-TAG 59.5
2 United Kingdom Lotus-Renault 27 ▲2
3 Italy Ferrari 26.5 ▼1
4 United Kingdom Brabham-BMW 22 ▲2
5 France Renault 21 ▼2
6 United Kingdom Williams-Honda 13.5 ▼1
7 Italy Alfa Romeo 6
8 United Kingdom Toleman-Hart 5
9 United Kingdom Arrows-Ford Cosworth 3
10 France Ligier-Renault 3

Only point scoring drivers and constructors are shown.

These standings have been modified to show the Championship as it stood after the retroactive disqualification of the Tyrrell 012 and drivers Martin Brundle and Stefan Bellof.

ReferencesEdit

Images and Videos:

References:

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 'United States GP, 1984', grandprix.com, (Inside F1 Inc., 2015), http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/rr396.html, (Accessed 06/03/2019)
  2. 2.000 2.001 2.002 2.003 2.004 2.005 2.006 2.007 2.008 2.009 2.010 2.011 2.012 2.013 2.014 2.015 2.016 2.017 2.018 2.019 2.020 2.021 2.022 2.023 2.024 2.025 2.026 2.027 2.028 2.029 2.030 2.031 2.032 2.033 2.034 2.035 2.036 2.037 2.038 2.039 2.040 2.041 2.042 2.043 2.044 2.045 2.046 2.047 2.048 2.049 2.050 2.051 2.052 2.053 2.054 2.055 2.056 2.057 2.058 2.059 2.060 2.061 2.062 2.063 2.064 2.065 2.066 2.067 2.068 2.069 2.070 2.071 2.072 2.073 2.074 2.075 2.076 2.077 2.078 2.079 2.080 2.081 2.082 2.083 2.084 2.085 2.086 2.087 2.088 2.089 2.090 2.091 2.092 2.093 2.094 2.095 2.096 2.097 2.098 2.099 2.100 2.101 2.102 2.103 2.104 2.105 2.106 2.107 2.108 2.109 2.110 2.111 2.112 2.113 '8. USA East 1984', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2014), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1984/etats-unis-est.aspx, (Accessed 06/03/2019)
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 A.H., 'Detroit Grand Prix: Precisely Piquet', motorsportmagazine.com, (Motor Sport, 01/08/1984), https://www.motorsportmagazine.com/archive/article/august-1984/35/precisely-piquet, (Accessed 18/03/2019)
  4. 4.0 4.1 'USA East 1984: Entrants', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2015), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1984/etats-unis-est/engages.aspx, (Accessed 06/03/2019)
  5. 'USA East 1984: Qualifications', statsf1.com, (Stats F1, 2016), https://www.statsf1.com/en/1984/belgique/qualification.aspx, (Accessed 06/03/2019)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Archived: Ewan Marshall, '1984: Tyrrell's Annus horribilis', gpfocus.com, (GP Focus, 25/08/2011), https://web.archive.org/web/20130627221841/http://gpfocus.com/memory-lane/1984-tyrrell’s-annus-horribilis/, (Accessed 19/03/2019) - Original
  7. "1984 USA East Grand Prix". formula1.com. https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/1984/races/473/detroit.html. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  8. 8.0 8.1 '1984 Detroit GP', chicanef1.com, (Chicane F1, 2015), http://www.chicanef1.com/racetit.pl?year=1984&gp=Detroit%20GP&r=1, (Accessed 06/03/2019)

Template:Detroit Grand Prix

V T E 1984 Formula One Season
Teams Brabham • Tyrrell • Williams • McLaren • RAM • Lotus • ATS • Renault • Arrows • Toleman • Spirit • Alfa Romeo • Osella • Ligier • Ferrari
Engines Alfa Romeo • BMW • Ferrari • Ford • Hart • Honda • Renault • TAG
Drivers Piquet • 2 T. Fabi • 2 C. Fabi • 2 Winkelhock • 3 Brundle • 3 Johansson • 4 Bellof • 4 Thackwell • 5 Laffite • 6 Rosberg • 7 Prost • 8 Lauda • 9 Alliot • 10 Palmer • 10 Thackwell • 11 De Angelis • 12 Mansell • 14 Winkelhock • 14/31 Berger • 15 Tambay • 16 Warwick • 33 Streiff • 17 Surer • 18 Boutsen • 19 Senna • 19/20 Johansson • 20 Cecotto • 20 Martini • 21 Baldi • 21 Rothengatter • 22 Patrese • 23 Cheever • 24 Ghinzani • 30 Gartner • 25 Hesnault • 26 De Cesaris • 27 Alboreto • 28 Arnoux
Cars McLaren MP4/2 • Ferrari 126C4 • Lotus 95T • Brabham BT53 • Renault RE50 • Williams FW09 • Toleman TG183B • Toleman TG184 • Alfa Romeo 184T • Ligier JS23 • Arrows A6 • Arrows A7 • Osella FA1F • Osella FA1E • ATS D7 • Spirit 101B • Spirit 101C • RAM 01 • RAM 02 • Tyrrell 012
Tyres Goodyear • Michelin • Pirelli
Races Brazil • South Africa • Belgium • San Marino • France • Monaco • Canada • Detroit • Dallas • Britain • Germany • Austria • Netherlands • Italy • Europe • Portugal
See also 1983 Formula One Season • 1985 Formula One Season • Category
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